As 2012 draws to a close, I share with you some of my favorite beginnings...
THE GRAVEYARD BOOK (2008), by Neil Gaiman
"There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife."
HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE (1998), J.K. Rowling
"Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much."
NEUROMANCER (1984), William Gibson
"The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel."
A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES (1980), John Kennedy Toole
"A green hunting cap squeezed the top of the fleshy balloon of a head."
GRAVITY'S RAINBOW (1973), Thomas Pynchon
"A screaming comes across the sky."
FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS (1971), Hunter S. Thompson
"We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold."
THE BELL JAR (1963), Sylvia Plath
"It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn't know what I was doing in New York."
FAHRENHEIT 451 (1953), Ray Bradbury
"It was a pleasure to burn."
THE CATCHER IN THE RYE (1951), J.D. Salinger
"If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth."
ANNA KARENINA (1877), Leo Tolstoy
"All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."
A TALE OF TWO CITIES (1859), Charles Dickens
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair."
MOBY-DICK (1851), Herman Melville
"Call me Ishmael."
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (1813), Jane Austen
"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife."
LOLITA, (1955), Vladimir Nabokov
Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul.
The Outsiders (1967), S.E. Hinton
“When I stepped out into the bright sunlight, from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home."
The Hobbit, or There and Back Again (1937), J.R.R. Tolkien
"In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit."
The Virgin Suicides (1993), Jeffrey Eugenides
"On the morning the last Lisbon daughter took her turn to suicide..."
Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949, George Orwell
"It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen."
The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy (1979), Douglas Adams
"In the beginning, the universe was created. This made a lot of people very angry, and has been widely regarded as a bad idea"